I’m writing this on January 7th, just one day after watching with a broken heart as a lengthy and bitter 2020 national campaign season in the United States ended with the desecration of the national Capitol. Do I believe that the United States will survive this trial? Undoubtedly, I do. The democratic form of government practiced by the United States, which was inspired by the governance practices of our tribes and others of Iroquoian heritage, is undergirded by a calm and unrelenting spirit. The events of this campaign season did, however, teach me many things.
As you will read elsewhere on this website, I am both a sixth generation veteran Cherokee Warrior, and an ordained United Methodist minister with a heritage that dates back to the Methodist revivals that took place among our people on the banks of the Coosa River in what would eventually become northeast Alabama. It is in honor of that heritage and in response to what this U.S. election season has taught me that I make the following pledge:
You will never hear me speak negatively about my opponent, Rep. Mary Baker Shaw. In fact, if you would like to know more about her platform, you can do so by clicking here. It is a false myth that to be elected one must degrade one’s opponent. I refuse to do so.
I will only ever address her with respect and gratitude for the service that she has rendered our people. Should she be successful in her bid for reelection, I will congratulate her and be grateful that our people will once again be well represented on our Tribal Council. I am not running for election because I believe her to be inadequate or unfit, I am running because I believe that I can serve our people well, as my ancestors before me have. To that end, should I win your vote, let it be because you believe in my platform and in the merits of my own ability to represent the people of our district. If I should win your vote, let it be because you are FOR me and FOR our people, not because you are AGAINST someone else.
To that end, you can learn more about my platform below. As I’ve said, it is my goal to take ANOTHER step on a good road forged by other good leaders. We are all but one link in a chain that was forged long before we arrived and will continue long after we’re gone. Let’s forge our link in the chain as well as those who came before us forged theirs, so that those who come after us will have a strong foundation from which to continue.
- Increase the number and size of scholarships available to At-Large Citizens.
- Work with other state governments to introduce license plates for Cherokee Citizens within those states, the proceeds for which will go to fund scholarships for Cherokee citizens who reside within those states.
- Increase the prevalence of Cherokee language courses at academic institutions outside of Oklahoma.
- Create educational partnerships with Indian Education Programs (Title VII) to participate in offering cultural opportunities to Native American students.
- Change the manner in which we refer to “At-Large” citizens.
- Find cultural mentors who are willing to establish cultural ties in large population centers outside of OK for the purpose of initiating authentic cultural immersion opportunities.
- Begin a mentoring program that pairs Cherokee elders with younger people who are interested in learning more about our language and culture.
- Investigate the historic attempts to repatriate culturally significant sites (such as the New Echota State Park, currently operated by the State of Georgia).
- Open Embassies for At-Large citizens across the United States.
- Embassies would be staffed by an Ambassador, appointed by the Principal Chief.
- Each Embassy would include:
- A DHS Certified Childcare Center.
- An Outpatient Health Clinic.
- An Office of the Ambassador.
- An Election Polling Location for At-Large Cherokee Citizens.